Microsoft to release new consumer OS in 2000

Microsoft has reversed course in its operating system (OS) roadmap and shall in 2000 release a new version of its consumer OS based on the Windows 9x code. Up until now, the company's stated goal was to move the consumer Windows to the NT kernel and away from DOS.

The next version of Windows 98 will focus on digital media, the Internet and home networking based on Universal Plug and Play, announced Microsoft president Steve Ballmer, at the company's annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference this week.

"Our focus has always really been to provide what customers are asking for, and they're asking for improvements in all these areas," said Mike Nichols, Windows 98 product manager. "Moving forward, we realised that we would not get there quick enough without using the 9x code base."

Microsoft admitted that it has been struggling with its upcoming Windows 2000 OS but maintained that it will ship this year. Brian Valentine, Microsoft's vice president of the Windows operating systems division, said Windows 2000 is on schedule. However, he didn't give details of what that schedule actually is.

"This [Windows 2000] was harder than we thought.... It's not a project out of control. It's a project that's going to get done this year," said Valentine.

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